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Ayodhya disinterested amid buzz over Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s mediation mission

About 15 major or minor formulae – some favouring temple-mosque side by side, others wanting a monument at the disputed site – have been floated but did not find favour

lucknow Updated: Nov 16, 2017 19:47 IST
Manish Chandra Pandey
Manish Chandra Pandey
Hindustan Times, Lucknow/Ayodhya
Ayodhya,Ram Temple,Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar meeting Mahant Nritya Gopal Das in Ayodhya.(HT Photo)

The initiative of Art of Living founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to solve the Ram Temple issue is making headlines across the country but the temple town appears unmoved by the fresh buzz.

‘Kya kaha... Ek aur ‘farmula’? Aap logon ke liye kuchh naya masala hai, hamare liye wahi purana raag (What did you say, another formulae? It’s some masala for you but routine matter for us),” said Balesh Gupta (33) of Ram ki Paidi in Ayodhya, summing up the mood of the temple town.

The disinterest has a past as since 1980s, Ayodhya has witnessed initiatives by at least three prime ministers, a retired high court judge, a high-profile godman, an international arms dealer, imams, priests and Shankaracharays fizzle out.

It was in the late ’80s that godman Chandraswami and arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi had suggested that a temple should come up in place of Babri Masjid and the mosque be shifted to some other place. However, the formulae flopped.

Ever since, nearly 15 major or minor formulae – some favouring temple-mosque side by side, others wanting a monument at the disputed site – have been floated but did not find favour.

Read More: Sri Sri Ravishankar meets Adityanath day before visiting Ayodhya

That is why even the BJP appears disinterested in the fresh push that comes shortly after Shia Wakf Board chief Wasim Rizvi favoured temple at the same spot and mosque outside Ayodhya.

Oblivious to this, even local BJP leaders in Laxmanghat ward of Ayodhya are dismissive of any ‘formulae’.

A loosely coined BJP slogan here goes: ‘Formulae ka kya fayada kya kaam, agar (elect) ho jayenge upar Gulshan Bindu aur neeche Shoaib Khan (what good would any formulae do if Bindu gets elected as mayor and Shoaib Khan as corporator)’.

The Samajwadi Party has fielded a transgender Gulshan Bindu as its mayoral candidate from Ayodhya and a Muslim Shoaib Khan from Laxmanghat ward. The BJP’s campaign here seems to be focused more on elections than the dispute.

Read More: Shia Board claims Ayodhya pact ready, Sunnis say no legal value

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) also appears disinterested in Sri Sri’s visit.

“He is a respected saint but he should know that several efforts led by prime ministers and Shankaracharyas have failed. There is no need for fresh mediation for only a grand temple can satisfy an average Hindu,” said VHP’s spokesman in Ayodhya Sharad Sharma.

VHP has maintained that any mediation that provides for a mosque within Ayodhya in lieu of a Ram Temple would be meaningless.

“The mosque has to be out of ‘84 kosi parikrama’ route,” said Tripathi. The route touches five districts bordering the temple town and VHP’s stand on the issue makes it clear that they want the mosque to be out of Ayodhya.

Iqbal Ansari, a litigant in the Ayodhya dispute, had recently stormed out of a meeting called to resolve the dispute.

First Published: Nov 16, 2017 17:36 IST